Bitcoin Payment Processor Rolls Out ‘BitPay Send’ to Allow Companies to Pay With Crypto

BitPay has announced a new product dubbed ‘BitPay Send,’ which enables companies to make crypto payments without necessarily holding digital assets. The crypto payment services provider targets extending its clientele portfolio with BitPay Send to bridge the gap that exists when it comes to paying for labor or services in crypto.

Powered by a blockchain ecosystem, the BitPay Send platform is built to increase efficiency in crypto payments and target companies of all sizes. This innovation facilitates massive payments such as the ones companies make to contractors, vendors, customers, affiliates, and employee salaries. Given the growing nature of the distributed economy, BitPay Send poses as an ideal platform for companies that source talent, especially from the gig economy.

Per the current systems, transactions can be extremely slow and costly, especially when a cross-border operation is involved. BitPay Send solves this challenge by supporting round the clock crypto payments across the globe. BitPay CEO, Stephen Pair, noted the high rate of blockchain payments adoption, which he attributes to the ease of sending and receiving payments globally. He added that,

“Traditional international payment methods are cumbersome, costly, and slow. With BitPay Send, companies can make mass payouts without having to buy, own or manage crypto and their recipients receive payments quicker and at a lower cost.”

BitPay Send is already in use by AdGate Media, which leverages the facility to make crypto payments to its affiliates. Basically, BitPay assumes the conversion risk, while AdGate only makes a fiat deposit paid out to an affiliate in crypto. Dan Sapozhnikov, the President of AdGate Media, was keen to highlight the value proposition by BitPay Send in their line of business,

“We have lots of affiliates who wanted to be paid in Bitcoin, especially those who are based outside North America and Europe where access to bank accounts is difficult …

having BitPay manage that risk was an important factor in choosing BitPay Send.”

Notably, recipients will only require a BitPay ID and crypto wallet hence the whole notion of eliminating banks as intermediaries. BitPay, which has been operational since 2011, enjoys the backing of prominent investment firms, which include Virgin Group, Index Ventures, and Founders Fund.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Ethereum Gets A New Smart Contract Language Dubbed ‘Fe’ Aiming to Attract More Developers

The Ethereum Foundation has announced a new smart contract language dubbed ‘Fe’ which is currently in development. This language derives its fundamentals from an Ethereum compiler known as ‘Vyper’; its code is written on Ethereum’s Virtual Machine (EVM) Rust programming language.

According to Ethereum software engineer Christoph Burgdorf, the development of Fe comes as a complement to solidity and will have a net positive effect on the ecosystem,

“The majority of applications deployed on the Ethereum network these days are written in Solidity. We believe the Solidity team is doing a great job and are clearly doing a lot of things right to maintain their current market share.

However, we also believe that more choices for developers will be a net positive for the ecosystem,”

Fe, which is named after the periodic table element Ferrum or Iron, pivots more towards the python programming language. Christoph said that this new language results from the demand for a simpler and more python-friendly alternative to solidity.

This new smart contract language is set to push forward the goals set out by Vyper compiler; they include accurate gas and transaction cost estimations. According to Christoph, the initial goal was to create a Vyper alternative, but the languages ended up taking different syntaxes. He added that,

“At this early stage in development, the differences between Fe and Vyper are still limited. For now, one will notice that Fe borrows a few syntactic properties from Rust.

It’s likely that Fe will begin to more closely resemble Rust as we continue to add new features.”

With Fe’s development ramping up in the recent past, the Ethereum Foundation has expressed optimism in integrating support functions to complete this new smart contract language. Christoph noted that it could be as early as this year, although the compiler will not yet be ready for production at the time,

“To be clear, the compiler will in no way be a suitable choice for a production ERC20 by that time, but we look forward to demonstrating the capabilities of Fe with such a well understood working example.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Kadena to Launch DEX to Rival Uniswap; Touts Higher Speeds and Multiple Protocol Support

Kadena announced on Tuesday that it would roll out a Decentralized Exchange (DEX) dubbed ‘Kadenaswap’ towards the end of 2020 in a bid to rival Ethereum, which is currently struggling with high gas fees and congestion. This JP Morgan blockchain initiative noted that its pipeline multi-chain DEX will provide DeFi traders with an option capable of handling high volumes as part of its contribution to the burgeoning space.

For starters, Kadenaswap is set to facilitate around 480,000 transactions per second compared to a mere 13 Tps on Ethereum. This has been a significant issue for Ethereum recently, as markets rallied in favor of DeFi ecosystems. Gas fees hit all-time highs, with traders paying as much as $15 per transaction at the beginning of September.

Kadenaswap has since been touted as the game-changer by its stakeholders, including Kadena president, Stuart Popejoy. Speaking to Coindesk, he confirmed that the DEX would have no issues in handling 480,000 Tps based on the fundamentals of Kadena blockchain, a platform that debuted at the beginning of the year.

Furthermore, Kadenaswap, unlike Uniswap, will support various protocols to build within its DEX ecosystem. Kadena’s native bridge infrastructure, coupled with the pact smart contract language, will allow its prospectus clients to integrate a couple of protocols not limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cosmos, and Polkadot. Popejoy commented that,

“We already have production code with fully decentralized bridges, and so that creates an interesting opportunity to think of a multi-protocol, multi-venue DEX.”

Like most decentralized projects, Kadena is also considering launching its governance token ‘KDAX,’ used as the fuel to its DEX. This means that KDAX holders will get to vote on proposals intended to improve or keep Kadenaswap sustainable in the DeFi space.

While Kadenaswap stakeholders may be bullish, the DEX will face a tall order in trying to disrupt Uniswap, which currently enjoys $2.3 billion in liquidity and $271 million volume within the past 24 hours. Ethereum 2.0 will launch in the near future, according to the latest updates from the team. If successful, DeFi activity is more likely to continue thriving in this ecosystem.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Reserve Bank of Australia Sees No Rush in Launching A CBDC; Aussie Banknotes Are Working

As other nations are rushing to launch central bank backed digital currency dubbed CBDC, Australia is not joining the bandwagon.

As per the Australian local news platforms, the Reserve Bank of Australia recent payments paper indicates that the bank is taking a cautious stand when it comes to CBDCs and privately issued stablecoins.

According to the australian central bank, there is no urgent case or need to introduce a CBDC in the country. The regulator argues that the country has an efficient, real-time payment platform which eliminates the need of a CBDC.

In addition, the regulator notes that the use of cash for transactions is decreasing in the country as Australian citizens are getting rid of banknotes just like in other countries like Sweden.

According to the central bank, despite the COVID-19 crisis in the country, the demand for cash has gone up. In this regard, RBA has committed to continue making it easy for Australians to access banknotes “for as long as Australians wish to keep using them.”

The Reserves Bank’s paper also explored the projects being carried in China, Sweden and Canada – some of the countries which have taken the CBDC initiatives proactively.

When it comes to Sweden, the RBA says that the country has witnessed a significant decrease in the use of cash for a number of years hence the need for Riksbank to come up and test the use of e-krona.

In Canada’s case, the country’s central bank has been preparing itself to provide CBDC when the opportune time comes. The Canadian central bank has envisioned two scenarios when CBDC can be beneficial – a collapse in use of fiat money for normal transactions as well as a threat to the country’s monetary policy as a result of growth and development of privately issued digital money.

The RBA’s report also touches on Facebook’s Libra stating that it still remains a dream and is following closely on whether it be granted regulatory approval to operate in various jurisdictions.

The Australian central bank also opined that the Chinese CBDC project which is at an advanced stage is largely informed by the popularity of private-sector e-money wallets like WeChat and Alipay.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

DeFi App, Aave, Releases Aavenomics Upgrade as It Prepares to Launch Its Governance Tokenv

Aave, the Ethereum based DeFi protocol, has released a tokenomics upgrade proposal dubbed ‘Aavenomics’ that will define its shift to a more decentralized governance ecosystem.

The firm announced this milestone on July 29 via a medium blog, noting that it is another exciting phase for Aave. Aave’s founder and CEO, Stani Kulechov, has since confirmed that the new governance tokens have been under development since we began the year.

The protocol is set to join the likes of Compound and Synthetic, which already launched its governance tokens. Notably, the debut of Compound’s token saw the DeFi market rally to new ATH’s as this protocol overtook Maker in terms of total value locked (TVL). This position, however, has not held given Maker regained its position as the leading DeFi protocol; over $1 billion are currently locked within its ecosystem.

Aave’s Governance Token

Currently, Aave’s DeFi platform uses LEND as its native token, but these are now set to be swapped for the upcoming governance token, AAVE. These governance tokens will supposedly introduce a financial services ecosystem that is pegged on a future proof framework and distributed governance to enhance safety and sustainability.

The LEND token supply, which is currently 1.3 billion, will be reduced to a bare 16 million AAVE tokens once the Aavenomics proposal is fully integrated. Thirteen million of these AAVE tokens will be redeemed by token holders, while the remaining 3 million will be allocated to Aave Ecosystem reserve. Going by these stats, Aave set the conversion rate for LEND against the new governance token at 100:1 to achieve the target numbers.

To initiate the swap, a governance vote will be conducted via the existing LEND token holders. Once approved, the underlying smart contracts will then facilitate the swap in a move that will see Aave achieve more decentralization in its governance.

The 3 million tokens allocated to Aave’s Ecosystem reserve will be used to incentivize development, hence safety and economic incentives in the rewards pool. Their allocation will be heavily dependent on Aave’s community, a decision they can now voice via a governance token.

Aave’s DeFi Footprint

At the moment, Aave is the fourth DeFi in terms of TVL with a significant $445 million in locked digital assets, up 14.6% in the last 24 hours. The project launched in 2017, and went by ‘EthLend‘ at the time; this name was, however, changed in September 2018 to what is now ‘Aave.’

Some highlights by this ETH financial service protocol include its $18 million ICO funding. This was later topped up by other funding rounds that have seen Aave gather over $3 million from the sale of LEND tokens after 2017.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Crypto Exchange Bitfinex to Roll Out Customized Lending Service With Automated Strategies

Bitfinex, a popular crypto exchange, has unveiled a new peer-to-peer lending service dubbed Lending Pro. The new P2P lending service would allow customers to invest in secured personal and business loans. The platform has a customizable set of tools that manage the trades and investment on behalf of customer’s baked on pre-set criteria specified by the customers as well as market scenarios.

The smart, automated lending platform is said to help investors streamline their crypto lending for loans underwritten and booked by Bitfinex. The automated protocol also helps in reducing cost charged by middlemen, which in turn makes the deal more beneficial for the parties involved in the trade.

  • Some of the key features of the Lending Pro include
  • Calculator to help projections on potential earnings
  • Reporting tools to get a breakdown of your funds
  • Distribution panel to find the best interest rates.

Lending Pro would not have a centrally controlled interest rate; rather, it would depend on the supply-demand of the platform. The launch of Lending Pro also comes at a perfect time right after the start of the staking services.

Staking services are available for cryptocurrencies working on Proof-of-stake mining consensus, and in 2020 it has been a big trend among exchanges, including Bitfinex. The exchange also said that the market is evolving to accept new lending products, and timing is just right for it.

The exchange also revealed that the lending landscape is changing with the reliance on digital assets increasing with each passing day. The data suggest there has been a surge in interest from institutional players as well who are looking for lending services via digital assets to support their businesses. Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Bitfinex said:

“Lending Pro provides our users with a tool to automate peer-to-peer lending, and earn passive income on their crypto. By deploying advanced automated technologies, we’ve created a tool that will help our growing user base maximize their earning efficiency on the crypto held on our exchange.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Kyber Network Makes DeFi Debut Following a Protocol Upgrade and KyberDAO Mainnet Launch

Kyber Network has launched a protocol upgrade dubbed ‘Katalyst’ alongside Kyber DAO on the Ethereum mainnet as per a blog post yesterday by the On-Chain liquidity provider. This initiative will see its debut in the fast-growing DeFi market, which currently has a total locked value of $2.15 billion, according to DeFi Pulse.

With this development, the Kyber network’s users will be able to leverage its native token – ‘KNC’ – to stake in the KyberDAO for proposal voting and participation rewards. The blog post reads:

“KNC holders can stake their tokens on the KyberDAO and govern the protocol by voting on important proposals and parameters while earning rewards (in ETH) for their efforts.”

The DeFi market growth has been exponential in the past few months, as crypto stakeholders’ shift focus to the latest market trend. It is not surprising that this field has hit the $2 billion mark despite a significant dip at the onset of the March bloodbath, which gave rise to ‘Black Thursday.’ Kyber Network is optimistic about making an impact in this space, especially following the launch of KyberDAO.

“The KyberDAO will empower the Kyber and DeFi community with an actual stake in Kyber’s future, and allow them to contribute directly to our development.”

Kyber’s Katalyst Protocol Upgrade

As for the improvement protocol, Kyber Network has made some technical changes to enhance the functionality of the ecosystem. The blog notes that its DApp innovators and users should expect reduced network fees, reserve routing for better rates, and customized spreads. Liquidity providers and reserves, on the other hand, should also look out for reserve rebates, more robust market-making tools, and a simplified fee system.

At some point, the protocol plans to improve the KyberDAO ecosystem through Kyber Improvement Proposals (KIP) in efforts to make the governance all-inclusive, hence efficient. Kyber has since remarked that they are glad to join the DeFi space as they eye expansion of their on-chain liquidity service.

“We look forward to working with the DeFi ecosystem to govern and increase adoption of our on-chain liquidity protocol and enhance liquidity for DeFi!”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Hidden Group Rakes in $200 Million in Two Years by Attacking Crypto Exchanges: Report

A hidden group dubbed “CryptoCore” has been targeting cryptocurrency exchanges, primarily in the US and Japan since 2018 has successfully stolen millions worth of digital assets, as per the ClearSky report.

The CryptoCore group has accumulated $70 million from its heists on exchange and is estimated to rake in over $200 million in two years.

Source: ClearSky

Though not extremely technically advanced, the group is swift and persistent and has been active since May 2018 but its activity has receded in the first half of 2020.

The cybersecurity company has been tracking CryptoCore for two years and found that it has links to the East European region, Ukraine, Russia, or Romania in particular.

CryptoCore Digital Infrastructure-Graph
Source: CryptoCore Digital Infrastructure-Graph

In its report, ClearSky points out that CryptoCore’s Modus Operandi is to gain access to the wallets of cryptocurrency exchanges, be it corporate wallets or exchange’s employees’ wallets. The group gains access to them through either spear-phishing against the corporate network or the executives’ personal email accounts.

The group makes use of cloud services, not limited to Google Drive and malicious crypto-themed domains such as btcprime[.]tk, krypitalvc[.]com, and blockchaintransparency[.]institute.

After extensive reconnaissance, the group carries out a spear-phishing attack by impersonating a high-ranking employee. From there, it moves to the victim’s password manager account from where it gets the keys of crypto-wallets and other valuable assets.

Millions Scammed, Millions Lost

Cryptocurrency scams are a growing problem, especially with everyone working from home due to COVID-19. Recently, we reported how bitcoin giveaway scams using the name of Tesla CEO Elon Musk made $2 million in less than two months.

According to a recent study by Scamwatch, run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australians filed 1,810 reports of crypto-related scams in 2019, totaling over $21.6 million AUD (almost $15 million USD).

“Most were Ponzi schemes, with no real cryptocurrency involved,” said the report.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has also been receiving 16,500 emails on average every day since the service to allow people to flag phishing and other suspicious emails were launched two months ago.

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Author: AnTy

Brazil’s PIER Data Sharing Platform Runs on JPM’s Quorum Blockchain; At A Cost of $250K

Brazil’s financial watchdogs will start using a shared blockchain platform dubbed ‘PIER’ to enhance the transfer of information amongst the institutions. This initiative was launched in April with the major stakeholders being Banco Central do Brasil (BCB), insurance regulator (SUSEP) and the securities authority, CVM. Notably, the country’s social security oversight body (PREVIC) is also set to join this ecosystem eventually.

This blockchain network was initially developed by Brazil’s central bank, BCB, which credited the new tech for its horizontal layout in information sharing. The bank had begun experimenting on blockchain projects as early as 2017 and revealed its ongoing work on PIER network a year later.

BCB’s press officer, Ivone Portes, has since told media outlet Coindesk that the project cost R$1,300,000 which translates to $252,700 as per the current exchange rates. She went on to note that the bank is, however, confident in getting value from PIER blockchain.

The Value Proposition

PIER is run on JP Morgan’s open-source network, Quorum; this Ethereum based innovation has been hailed by the BCB for its ‘private IT infrastructure’. BNamericas further highlighted that the platform leverages cloud computing services from Microsoft Azure. Marcelo Barbosa, the president of CVM, said that PIER will change Brazil’s markets scene towards a more profitable outlook,

“Our objective is that this system promotes gains to the market, given the more efficient, safe and adequate supervision and enforcement to the new technological scenario that we are experiencing”

With PIER’s online bridge, the BCB is also optimistic about streamlining its oversight on Brazil’s financial institutions. One of the functions that have been mentioned by this central bank is vetting elected officials of its regulated entities. The bank’s deputy head, Daniel Bichuette, added that PIER would effectively reduce the processing time of assessing requirements.

This development will probably push Brazil’s blockchain space to newer practicalities. Currently, the South American country is among those that have embraced blockchain tech on a larger scale across the world.

As a result, some private banks within its jurisdiction have already pioneered digital currency tokens on Tezos blockchain. The BCB together with its peer regulators also formed a blockchain sandbox back in June 2019 as a means to spur growth within this industry.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Steemit’s Fork, Hive, Gets A Cease and Desist From Canadian Blockchain Firm Over Name

  • The new Steemit hard fork gave birth to a platform dubbed ‘Hive’ that is currently supported by over 30 developers.
  • This network is barely a week old but has already encountered its first legal challenge following an action by Canadian crypto mining firm, HIVE.
  • The latter claims that Steemit developers who forked the network are riding on a goodwill created by them over their existence period in blockchain and crypto markets.

This move by Hive.io developers to shift from the original network was not unprecedented as it had been announced on March 18. It was later actualized on March 20 when the Hive platform went live as an alternative to Steemit.

The initiative comes at a time when Tron’s founder, Justin Sun, had just taken over Steemit’s network with the help of Poloniex, Huobi and Binance crypto exchanges. According to Hive.io developers, this ecosystem takeover is the main reason they opted out of Steemit’s network given the uncertainty of Justin Sun’s actions in future.

The Legal Hurdle

As mentioned earlier, Hive has been called out for using a name that already exists within the crypto space. Canada’s, HIVE Blockchain Technologies, published a notice on 23rd March highlighting it had already sent out warning letters to Hive.io as to the use of this name;

“In response to multiple shareholder inquiries understandably confused by this Blockchain’s announcement, HIVE clarifies that it has no association with this Blockchain,”

They further added that they are not in dispute of this new Steemit fork apart from the name. It therefore makes sense for the firm to initiate legal action so as to protect their brand according to HIVE’s interim executive chairman, Frank Holmes;

“However, for legal reasons, we have no option but to seek to protect our interests, dispel the ongoing confusion and avoid any potential damage to our reputation,”

Hive’s Technical & Operational Prospects

Despite the legal shortcoming, the Hive (HIVE) token already secured a listing on Bittrex exchange and three other platforms. It is set to be listed by more exchanges in a bid to enable the distribution of its airdropped crypto coins. As it stands, Hive is trading at $0.193 on Bittrex while STEEM is at $0.154.

Hive.io developers have gone an extra step to completely eliminate Justin Sun’s Steemit rights. The team excluded Tron’s founder or any affiliate from its airdrop hence denying them a chance to convert their STEEM to Hive. These advancements by a group of Steemit developers may actually solve the rising issues on decentralization and censorship within this ecosystem.

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Author: Edwin Munyui